She Killed in Ecstasy is a 1970 West German-Spanish erotic horror thriller film directed by Jesús Franco. The production staff included many cast members and nearly the same crew as his previous film Vampyros Lesbos. The German title is Sie tötete in Ekstase.
Soledad Miranda, Fred Williams, Ewa Strömberg, Paul Muller, Howard Vernon, Horst Tappert, Jess Franco.
She Killed in Ecstasy is most recently available as a definitive uncut Severin Films Blu-ray in the US and UK. Extras include interviews with Jess Franco, Soledad Miranda historian Amy Brown, Stephen Thrower (author of Murderous Passion: The Delirious Cinema of Jess Franco); actor Paul Muller and the German trailer.
Doctor Johnson (Fred Williams) lives in bliss with his beautiful wife (Soledad Miranda) until his unorthodox experiments with human embryos cause a medical committee to reject his findings and orders him to discontinue his work.
As a result, the unstable doctor slashes his wrists in the bathroom. Devastated, his wife vows to seduce and kill the woman and three men “responsible” for the suicide…
Jess Franco’s direction here focuses almost solely on the undoubted screen presence of Soledad Miranda is all the better for it. The revenge and necrophilia-themed lost soulmate storyline, which borrows elements from the director’s previous films The Diabolical Doctor Z and Venus in Furs, was clearly cobbled together solely to use her obvious acting talents.
Yet, despite little dialogue, Miranda conveys vengeance and female fury with merely her eyes. Elsewhere, the director’s own masochistic demise, at the hands of his lead actress is, as Stephen Thrower suggests in an interview extra, perhaps the sole reason for the film’s existence!
Thankfully, it’s only right at the end of the slim Sadean plot that Franco overreaches himself with a montage of seemingly endless images of Miranda that slightly smacks of overkill.
Elsewhere, the lack of a dynamic narrative is compensated for by some delightfully kitsch architecture, interior decoration and fashions such as an ornate metal bra, and fetishistic imagery such as when Ewa Strömberg’s naked character is smothered to death with a plastic see-thru pillow after a lesbian romp with Miranda.
Hubler and Schwab’s upbeat sitar-tinged easy-listening score is sometimes out of kilter with what’s happening on the screen, e.g. Fred Williams character Doctor Johnson committing suicide, so was presumably used as it was available rather than being composed for this film and Vampyros Lesbos. But that’s a minor quibble as it’s excellent in itself and provides a memorable musical juxtaposition that fits the odd ambience.
If you’re already a fan of Jess Franco’s delirious late 60s/early 70s oeuvre, the uncut and gorgeous looking Severin Blu-ray restoration is a must-have purchase.
Adrian J Smith, MOVIES & MANIA
“Actress Soledad Miranda’s physical presence alone brings an atmosphere of mysterious eroticism and melancholy to the film that is seldom to be seen in Franco’s other work… a straight “star vehicle” built around Miranda.” Peter Blumenstock, Obsession: The Films of Jess Franco
“For a film filled with nudity, strange decor and kitschy muzak Sie tötete in Ekstase is a downbeat, depressing affair. Even the presence of the lovely Soledad Miranda fails to revive the tortured, repetitive plot. The film overflows with death and thwarted desire… Sie tötete in Ekstase is deadly serious. Too serious to be entertaining.” Pete Tombs, Cathal Tohill, Immoral Tales: European Sex & Horror Movies, 1956-1984
“Manuel Merino’s photography focuses solely and seductively upon Miranda, as she seduces the film’s characters. Franco’s compositions are a little too clean for my tastes and too formal, as if he doesn’t want to taint the beauty of Miranda. Numerous close-ups of her face and hypnotic eyes fill She Killed in Ecstasy, as Miranda is often able to portray her descent into madness and despair through only the windows into her soul.” Quiet Cool
Cast and characters:
- Soledad Miranda as Mrs. Johnson
- Fred Williams as Doctor Johnson
- Ewa Strömberg as Doctor Crawford
- Paul Muller as Doctor Franklin Houston
- Howard Vernon as Prof. Jonathan Walker
- Horst Tappert as Polizeiinspektor
- Jesús Franco as Doctor Donen
- Rudolph Hertzog Jr. as Kongressteilnehmer
- Karl-Heinz Mannchen as Kongressteilnehmer